Victoria’s Secret ‘offensive’ Oriental-inspired collection banned

Posted on 25 September 2012
By Jo Ching
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Victoria’s Secret is in hot water today after their new Sexy Little Geisha outfit caused a stir.

The outfit is part of VS’s Go East collection, an Eastern-inspired floral print fabric plus a removable obi belt.

The lingerie model Candice Swanepoel poses with a matching fan and chopsticks. Victoria’s Secret claims the outfit is “your ticket to an exotic adventure”.

Victoria’s Secret has removed its Oriental-inspired Go East collection from its website after it was deemed offensive by critics.

The Sexy Little Geisha mesh one-piece attracted the most controversy – featuring cut-out panelling, floral details and a removable obi belt, as well as a matching fan and chopsticks. The accompanying description read: “Your ticket to an exotic adventure. Sexy little fantasies, there’s one for every sexy you.”

US blog Racialicious said: “When someone creates a collection like this, making inauthentic references to ‘Eastern culture’ (whatever that means), with hints of red or a fan accessory or floral designs, it reinforces a narrative that says that all Asian cultures – and their women – are exotic, far away but easy to access.

They added: “It’s a narrative that says the culture can be completely stripped of its realness in order to fulfil our fantasies of a safe and non-threatening, mysterious East. But when a company takes it one step further by developing a story about how the clothes can offer a sort of escape using explicit sexualised and exploitive language, it takes the whole thing to another level. It’s a troubling attempt to sidestep authentic representation and humanisation of a culture and opt instead for racialised fetishising against Asian women.”

Website links to the collection have been redirected to the brand’s homepage. A spokesperson for Victoria’s Secret was not available for comment.

Women’s lifestyle blog The Frisky added: “Considering the complicated history of geishas, re-purposing the [geisha] look for a major corporation to sell as role-playing lingerie seems a bit tasteless.”